- Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
This passage often leaves people scratching their heads. After all, why doesn’t Jesus immediately want to help this distressed woman? But if you read carefully, you begin to see Jesus is engaging in some witty repartee with her. He says “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” but she doesn’t take this for the final answer. She engages with Jesus. She continues to try her best to enlist the help of the One who can help. And her faith is rewarded. This woman is a Canaanite (IE: not a Jew) yet ultimately Jesus helps her – because she has faith that He will.
How often do we give up after one prayer, one time of asking, one instance of “help me, Lord?”
Do you ever find yourself praying as a routine rather than a belief that God will respond? Is your prayer life ever dry and repetitive, but without belief? It happens to many of us – we get so stuck in a routine that we forget to stop and consider what prayer really is at heart – a conversation with God (and as any good conversation goes, we need to listen to the other party at least as much as we speak). And we must be faithful and persistent, knowing that God will, in some way, answer our prayer.